I explained to my friend Liz, who didn't let the PTA down, that I operate more like the Unabomber: independently, but with intent. And without the cabin. And the woods. And, uh, the beard. And, you know, the bombs. And, well, the malice.
I'm a dyed-in-the-wool introvert.
So, instead of volunteering at the school or helping with fundraisers and such, I worked individually―but in cahoots, we'll say―with a friend, Jen, when the number of car crashes at the main intersection near the school concerned us. She and I lobbied the two cities that shared jurisdiction of the intersection to replace the lone stop sign with a three-way traffic light. It took some time and pressure, but, we did it, and car crashes at that intersection have dropped noticeable. Go, us. Rah rah. Siss-boom-bah.
And that brings us to last night. (Don't worry, I'm not segueing into details of a car wreck here.)
The PTA hosted a Valentine's dance at Connor's school last night. Connor hemmed and even hawed all week about whether he wanted to attend. I knew that he was curious about the whole idea of a school dance, but understood his apprehension of The Great Unknown.
He flipped and flopped, committed to going, slammed his sister's hand in the car door accidently in his excitement as we set out, declared that he wasn't "going to any stinky old dance" as he dealt with the horror of his mistake, and then cast the decision to go or not on me.
I would have been content to curl up on the couch in my jammies, watch a movie, and fold laundry, but decided that we three―Connor, Natalie, and I―would tackle that stinky old Valentine's dance, head on.
And so, we went.
And when we walked into the overstuffed cafeteria with its dim lights, red and white streamers, pink and purple balloons, and not-loud-enough music, Connor stopped short, squeezed my hand, and announced, all sorts of matter of fact, "I'm overwhelmed."
I was, too, buddy. I was, too.
We stuck it out for 45 minutes. Connor and Natalie laughed and socialized a bit, and Natalie got her groove on.
When we arrived back home, I changed into my flannel red-and-white snowflake jammies and curled up on the couch with my two little urchins to fold baskets and baskets of laundry and watch a documentary about mountain lions.
It was only when I changed clothing that I discovered that I had attended my third-ever school dance―the first, for those at home counting on their fingers, was the ninth-grade prom, the second was a junior ring dance at college―with a squished tomato on my backside.
No matter. I like to think that I wore that tomato well, and Connor, Natalie, and I―two introverts and one extrovert―survived a school dance. Go, us.
karma wears a floofy pink dress
How to Be Unruly by Jennifer Linney
. . . and their hearts go boom-boom-boom
Connor, Pat Collins, and me